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China offers $1.1B in loans for rail, airports

ABUJA — China is offering Nigeria $1.1 billion in loans to help the West African nation build airport terminals, a light rail line for its capital city and communication system improvements, the country’s Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

The loans reflect the deepening economic ties between oil-rich Nigeria and China, which already is involved in building major road and railway projects in the nation.

Similar deals with China, however, have fallen apart amid corruption allegations, problems that persist today and could potentially put this new deal at risk as well.

The $500 million light rail project for Abuja, the nation’s central capital, would bring commuters in from suburbs surrounding the city’s distant international airport and from neighboring Nasarawa state, the Finance Ministry said. Another project, valued at $100 million, part of a loan deal already signed involving the light rail, would go toward improving Nigeria’s Internet capability.

The 20-year, 2.5 percent interest loan for the two projects has a grace period of seven years before payment is required, the ministry said.

Separately, another $500 million loan will go toward building airport terminals in Abuja, Enugu, Kano and Port Harcourt, the ministry read.

Airports in Nigeria— Africa’s most populous nation, with more than 160 million people — largely sit in disrepair as most were built in the 1960s and 1970s.


Parliament OKs army to crush tribal feud

NAIROBI — Kenya’s parliament Wednesday passed a motion urging the government to deploy the military to the country’s southeast, where a feud between two tribes has killed more than 100 in three weeks, including nine police officers.

Dunson Mungatana, a lawmaker for the Garsen constituency, said Wednesday that police were overwhelmed by the fighting between the Orma, a seminomadic livestock-herding tribe, and the Pokomo, a farming community.

Another lawmaker opposed the measure, saying the army is not trained to deal with such domestic disputes and can be brutal to civilians.

The U.N. and the Red Cross say that, on the surface, the feud between the two communities appears to be over land and water resources, but other causes could be the redrawing of political boundaries and rising tensions due to next year’s general elections.


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